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The Jerk (1979)

 -  Comedy  -  14 December 1979 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 36,336 users  
Reviews: 109 user | 54 critic

An idiotic man struggles to make it through life on his own in St. Louis.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Title: The Jerk (1979)

The Jerk (1979) on IMDb 7.2/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Navin / Cat Juggler (as Pig Eye Jackson also)
...
...
...
Richard Ward ...
...
Taj
...
...
...
...
Helena Carroll ...
...
Elvira (as Ren Wood)
...
Sonny Terry ...
Brownie McGhee ...
Blues Singer (as Brownie McGee)
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Storyline

Navin is an idiot. He grew up in Mississippi as adopted son of a black family but on his 18th birthday he feels he wants to discover the rest of the world and sets out to St. Louis. There everyone exploits his naivety, but then a simple invention brings him a fortune. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He was a poor black sharecropper's son who never dreamed he was adopted. See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 December 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Easy Money  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Premiere voted this movie as one of "The 50 Greatest Comedies Of All Time" in 2006. See more »

Goofs

When Navin is being pursued by the sniper at the gas station, the sniper fills up the car's rear end with bullet holes. Later, after Navin escapes in the car without rear tires, there are no bullet holes visible on the car's rear end. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Navin R. Johnson: Huh? I am *not* a bum. I'm a jerk. I once had wealth, power, and the love of a beautiful woman. Now I only have two things: my friends, and... uh... my thermos. Huh? My story? Okay. It was never easy for me. I was born a poor black child. I remember the days, sittin' on the porch with my family, singin' and dancin' down in Mississippi...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Pig Eye Jackson - Cat Juggler (Steve Martin) See more »


Soundtracks

Pick A Bale Of Cotton
Sung by Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee (as Brownie McGee)
Words and Music by Leadbelly (as Huddie Ledbetter)
Collected and Adapted by John A. Lomax and Alan Lomax
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Wow, this movie didn't age well at all
17 September 2005 | by (Boston) – See all my reviews

I remember this movie being THE movie to see back when it came out and I was a teenager, and it didn't disappoint - there was a ton to laugh at.

But I saw it for the second time last night, and it had almost no effect on me at all. I had one laugh out loud moment - the "shinola" lesson (mainly just from the concept, not the fact that he steps in it at the end, which presumably is the "punchline"). Otherwise I was deadpan throughout, although the musical number was charming, especially when Peters pulls out the coronet.

The movie was really a product of its times - back then it was unlike everything else in the theaters - it hearkened back to some of the Marx Brothers anarchy - but by today's standards, it just didn't do it for me anymore. There are more genuine laugh out loud moments in any given Simpsons episode than there are in the entire movie. Perhaps it's because most of the comedy lessons that this movie taught have now become part of mainstream comedy, even cliché. If you were seeing it through fresh eyes, it might have the ability to get a laugh (it didn't for my wife, her first time), but it doesn't hold up to repeated viewings.


14 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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